Diabetes

WORLD DIABETES DAY

Your LaserFocus reminds you that 14th November is the World Diabetes Day. The World Health Organisation chose this date to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who discovered, together with Charles Best, insulin in 1922 and thus saved lives of millions of people all over the world.

he World Health Organisation estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes. Without treatment this number would double by 2030. Most worryingly, 80% persons with diabetes are from underdeveloped countries and developing countries like Serbia.

dr Vesna Jovanovic

Let us remind you – What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease which develops when pancreas does not secrete sufficient amounts of insulin or secreted insulin cannot be used. Insufficient amounts of insulin, lack of its effect or both conditions lead to increase in sugar levels in blood (hyperglycemia). Long-term hyperglycemia affects the whole body, damaging many organs and tissues, starting from the blood vessels.

Diabetes warning signs are:

Urinating more often, feeling more thirsty and hungrier, losing weight, fatigue, loss of concentration, vomiting and stomach ache (frequently confused for flu symptoms), blurred vision, frequent infections, slower wound healing.

The complications of diabetes are cardiovascular disorders, kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy), neuropathic disorders (diabetic neuropathy), changes in the retina (diabetic retinopathy) and others.

REMEMBER – THERE IS NO MILD DIABETES!

It is possible to have quality of life with diabetes! Each person suffering from diabetes should have an eye examination once a year, or earlier, in case of problems with vision. The eye complications of diabetes are vision loss, most of which can be prevented!

DIABETES AND VISION

Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor although you see well

People with diabetes need to pay special attention to eye care. It is made significantly easier thanks to the modern diagnostic approaches which allow good examination of the eye ground on which complications are most frequently caused by the increased levels of sugar in the blood. Prof. Dr. Ljubiša Nikolić will speak about modern methods and interventions that help diabetes patients to slow down vision deterioration and stop complications in order to continue to see like all healthy people:

dr Djordje Nikolic

How is it possible to reduce frequency of diabetic eye complication?

Higher blood sugar levels damage blood vessels. Walls of some capillaries are becoming thinner and allow liquors and fats pass into the adjacent tissue. Diameter of other capillaries and bigger blood vessels becomes smaller so that they do not bring sufficient blood and oxygen to the cells which then stop functioning. After a sufficient number of cells is damaged, the function of many organs is reduced, first and foremost of the eye, kidneys and peripheral nerves. Therefore, diabetes is a systemic disease.

Can development of these complications be reduced or postponed?

Yes, in case of an early diagnosis and if the blood sugar levels are reduced to normal or to the values which are not significantly above normal. To do so, one must not wait for the symptoms of diabetes or disorders of functions of the organs. Occasional checks of blood sugar levels and other indicators with middle-aged persons, especially those who have any close relatives suffering from diabetes, may timely warn of the disease. Regular, moderate physical activity and healthy diet, stress-free lifestyle and non-smoking, as well as appropriate treatment of high blood pressure are useful. It is easier said than done, but it is certainly good to know and to follow above guidelines to the maximum possible extent.

How long does it take before diabetes patients start suffering from eye complications?

Vision deterioration with diabetes patients comes as a result of long-term disease. Any example of detection of diabetes at the same time with the vision impairment as a diabetic complication indicates that diabetes was not timely diagnosed. Each patient who has been diagnosed diabetes, without any changes on the retina, must have an ophthalmological examination once a year. In case there have already been minor changes, eye examinations should be in shorter intervals, as long as it is concluded that the treatment is needed. After implementing a therapy, the ophthalmologist shall prescribe frequency of control examinations.

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